If You Give a Man A Blanket…

If you lend to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit is that to you?…Lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great.

Luke 6:34-35 (NIV)

For the past several years during winter months, our church has hosted a homeless ministry referred to as “the warming station”. (COVID being the exception this year). Over the course of six hours, these special guests are blessed with a hot meal, prayer and conversation, cots on which to sleep and movies for entertainment.

Last year, a man at our warming station approached me, face weathered by time and hardship, and boldly asked,

“Ma’am, do you have any blankets? It’s really cold outside.”

Dreadfully cold.

I hesitated. One, because there were no more blankets to loan, and, two, because the plaid blanket in pretty shades of purple and aqua I’ve kept in my car for many years came to mind.

Yes, that one blanket I favor and have used. A lot.

Because one never knows when one might find herself cold and in need of a blanket. And when Mary is cold and miserable so is everyone in her midst.

Fixing his stare, eyes pleading, dark and hollow, the man urged,

“I’ll give it back.”

Drat. He’d read my thoughts. Must have sensed the wrestling with my inner Linus Van Pelt.

With effort, I mentally released ownership of the blanket, dashed to the car to retrieve it. The instant I handed it over, I knew the teeny tiny act of kindness was an obedient decision.

And I knew I’d never see that blanket again.

Will I, Lord?

Lend without expecting to get anything backLuke 6:35

Like Jesus.

When God sent his baby son Jesus to earth, it was a selfless, sacrificial act. Even though his gift isn’t consistently and faithfully reciprocated by his children in loving obedience, (If you love me you will obey my commandments. John 14:15) he remains kind and merciful to the ungrateful and wicked.

Within reason—and when prompted by the Holy Spirit—he calls us to be generous and lend to sinners. That doesn’t come with assurance we’ll get back what we loaned or the sacrifice of time, talent or treasure won’t sting a little…or a heck of a lot.

But for the generous lender, the willingness to give without expecting to get anything back produces abundant blessings from God whose riches are immeasurable, both here and in eternity.

What need have I in heaven of a blanket in an environment that’ll deliver perfect warmth, illuminated by the radiant glory of God?

The maker of blankets.

When we freely give a man a blanket, we receive far more than we have room in our hearts to take in.

’Tis the season for giving. What are you willing to lend that might not make it back to you? 

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10 Comments

  1. Linda Meares says:

    Such a sweet, inspiring story. Americans have so much stuff these days, myself included. I will find a need today and give freely without expecting anything in return. Thank you Mary!

    • Mary Felkins says:

      That’s wonderful! No better time than today. I hold on entirely too tight to stuff -which benefits no one. Thanks for stopping in to share your thoughts, Linda!

  2. Mary Witherspoon says:

    So thought provoking to allow us to look within ourselves. Beautiful story of truth and blessings.

    • Mary Felkins says:

      Thanks, Mary. Sadly, I’d forgotten about the incident until God prompted me recently. Thankful he brought back to mind the need this man had and the attitude of giving freely.

  3. Karen Malley says:

    Thanks for sharing this story, Mary, and giving us the reminder that small sacrifices on our part may mean so much more to someone in need.

    • Mary Felkins says:

      They sure do. How easy to overlook even those small sacrifices, but it’s the heart behind what we give that God is interested in. Thanks for stopping by, Karen!

  4. I love this, Mary!
    Thank you for this wonderful reminder about sharing.
    The Linus photo is precious—he’s always been my favorite character. In fact, many years ago I had a beloved cat named Linus.

    Christmas blessings to you!

    • Mary Felkins says:

      Aw, I bet your cat Linus was precious! And I too love that character. The classic drawing of Linus came to mind when I wrote this post. I share pretty well in general but part of my brain struggles against the idea that I’ll never get the thing back. I appreciate your thoughts, Patti Jo 🙂

  5. An inspiring story, not only for Christmas, but all throughout the year. A wonderful example of giving Mary–even when it is hard. That makes it all the more precious to God, I think. After all, he gave us the most precious gift that must have been the greatest sacrifice to bear–the gift of His Son. Wishing you and your family a blessed 2021.

    • Mary Felkins says:

      I agree. To some extent, giving should be costly to be of greatest value to God who gave everything – his most precious treasure – so we could have eternal life. Thanks for sharing, Katherine!

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